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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CROON, CRONE, CRUN(E), Cruin, Krune, Creen, v.2, n.2 [krun, kryn Sc., but n.Sc. + krin]

I. v.

1. To utter a deep, long-drawn-out sound, as the bellow of a bull, the lowing of a cow or the boom of a bell (Sh. 1898 E.D.D., krune; Kcb.10 1941, cruin). Found in n.Eng. dial. (E.D.D.). Also used fig. Ppl.adj. crooning.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 33:
A crooning Cow, a crowing Hen, and a whistling Maid boded never luck to a House.
wm.Sc. 1835–37 Laird of Logan II. 6:
[The bull came] crooning and casting the turf over his shoulders.
Ib. (1868) 576:
“Your bill's cruinan, you may leuk for a charge o' horning,” — said when a bill is overdue, and diligence threatened.
[A pun on bill, an account, and Bill, n.1, a bull.]Ayr. 1786 Burns Holy Fair xxvi.:
Now Clinkumbell, wi' rattlan tow, Begins to jow an' croon.
Ayr. a.1851 A. Aitken Poems (1873) 21:
She croon'd an' lap the dykes like mad, . . . Unlike our douse auld cow.

Phr.: buck and crune, see Buck, v.2 and adv.

2. To utter a lament, to mourn; to sing in a wailing voice, to whimper or whine (Cai. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl., creen; Cai.7 (creen), Bnff.2, Abd.2 1941; Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.). Also found in n.Eng. and Dev. dials. (E.D.D.). Also tr. to lament for, bewail.Sc. 1887 Jam.6:
She sits croonin' for her bairn that's gane.
Ags. 1894 A. Reid Heatherland 79, 128: 
Till a' the burnies bickerin' doon His lordly micht did saftly croon . . . Eerie his welcome, they're croonin' the deid.
Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 91:
She is crooning in sorrow to the babby boy that's sabbin' oot the bit heart o't on her bosom.
Dmf. 1810 R. H. Cromek Rem. Nithsd. and Gall. Song 88:
It [cock broo] dreeped down Sawney's meezled shin . . . The donnort bodie crooned right lowne.

3. To sing or mutter in an undertone, to hum. This meaning is now accepted as Eng., but until 19th cent. it was mainly Sc. (N.E.D.). Also tr., freq. with adv. ower.Sc. 1809 Scott Letters (1932) II. 261:
Oct.: Among other attempts . . . one of the happiest has been to let my little Sophie crune over Montrose's lines.
Sc. 1923 Sc. Univ. Verses 1918–23 70:
Och, I mind me o' the west-wind croonin' in frae the sea, And the liltin' lass o' Vulin herdin' cattle on Travee.
Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 106: 
By himsel', near some lone fountain, Aft he croon'd his dowie sang.
Lnk. 1865 J. Hamilton Poems and Sk. 89:
There sat my granny spinnin' thrang, Aye cronin' o'er some godly saum.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Tam o' Shanter 84: 
Whiles crooning o' er some auld Scots sonnet.


(1) Of a cat: to purr (Ant. 1892 Ballymena Obs. (E.D.D.)).Rnf. 1850 A. McGilvray Poems 194:
[The cat] sits by me crooning upon the hearthstane.

(2) Of a frog: to croak.Abd. 1860 Auld Prognostic in Bnffsh. Jnl. (14 Feb.) 5:
In Februar o' a favour'd year Nae podocks sud croot nor creen.

5. “To use many words in a wheedling sort of way” (Bch. 1808 Jam., crone); to murmur ingratiatingly.Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 139:
Crun wi' Bacchus — beastly god!

II. n.

1. A long-drawn-out sound, as the bellow of a bull or the boom of a bell.Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems II. 18:
The bleeting Flocks, the Oxens hollow Crune.
Edb. 1773 Ferguson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 191: 
Kate Kennedy to dowy crune May mourn and clink.
Ayr. 1785 Burns Halloween xxvi.: 
The deil, or else an outler quey, Gat up an' ga'e a croon.
Ayr. 1858 M. Porteous The Real “Souter Johnny” 14:
Till wi' o'ercomin' drouth sae bother'd, The bell's last croon Gat them in Kirkton Jean's fast tether'd Fu' snugly down.

2. A wail or lament; a mournful song (Abd.6 1913).Sc. 1874 W. Allan Hamespun Lilts 79:
An' chantin' their fate in a wraith-stricken croon.
m.Lth. 1882 A. Cargill in Edwards Mod. Sc. Poets (Fourth Series) 56:
What carle are ye wha comes sae dowff an' wae, Forjeskit sair wi' sad-lamentin' croon?
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 206:
When Yon Spat's fearfu fa, ye mourn, In simple hammart croon.
Ayr. 1824 A. Crawford Tales of my Grandmother (1825) I. 135:
She used to . . . sing to him wi' a heavy croon.

3. A low murmuring tune; a song. Now accepted as Eng. with spelling croon.Sc. 1732 Ramsay Poem in Scots Mag. (June 1932) 215:
Blyth British Tunes Which ane and a' began to Slight For outland Crunes.
Ags. 1865 Arbroath Guide (4 March) 3/5:
For I maun t' the clachan gang, To join auld Robin's crune.

4. The purr of a cat.Abd. 1853 W. Cadenhead Flights 252:
Baudrins ligs wi' streekit Collie, Listen to her cheerfu' croon.

[O.Sc. has crune, croyn, cruin, to bellow, roar, or rumble, c.1500, to sing in a low or mournful tone, 1567 (D.O.S.T.), Mid.Eng. croyne; cf. Du. kreunen, to moan or groan, lament, Mid.Du. cronen, M.L.Ger. kronen (Franck). The word appears to have been orig. Sc. and n.Eng., but since the 19th cent. it has been accepted as Eng. in the senses as given above. Its introduction into Eng. was prob. due to the influence of Burns.]

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"Croon v.2, n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Apr 2024 <>



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